Although on paper Royal Challengers Bangalore look the stronger side, there isn’t much to choose between the two teams when it comes to their performance in this year’s IPL. Both teams find themselves at the bottom half of the table having lost three of their five matches in the UAE. As such, RCB and Sunrisers would be keen to start the Indian leg on a winning note. Bangalore would be slightly ahead as far as net run rate is concerned, but their high-profile batting line-up certainly hasn’t fired in the event so far.
If Bangalore want to perform well, their much-vaunted batting will have to stand up and deliver. In their last two games, they have been restricted to 70 and 124. Chris Gayle doesn’t look 100 per cent fit yet. It remains to be seen how he will perform in the future games. The other big names in the batting line-up also haven’t stood up to the task. Ever since AB de Villiers was miraculously caught by Chris Lynn in the match against KKR, he hasn’t been the same influential batsman again. Yuvraj Singh too hasn’t been effective and, for a change, even skipper Virat Kohli has been off-boil.
It would be unfair to blame their bowling for they haven’t got a chance to prove themselves since their batsmen haven’t given them a lot to play with. Still, the form of Albie Morkel for one has been extremely worrying. He hasn’t fired with the ball at all, and the fact that his batting hasn’t excelled as well has put his place in the side in jeopardy. Among the others, Mitchell Starc, Varun Aaron and Ashok Dinda have made an impression, but only in phases. Consistency has been lacking in their bowling as well.
Sunrisers have been a bit up and down in the event, but they have had their moments to cherish. David Warner and Aaron Finch have hit form in recent games, and KL Rahul also demonstrated that he can make a difference during his innings against Mumbai Indians. Also, the bowling of Dale Steyn, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Irfan Pathan in the last game was brilliant. Steyn and Kumar have tasted success consistently this IPL, and Sunrisers would be pleased that Pathan also joined the party against Mumbai. The trio can play a big role in the future games as well.
There are a few worrying aspects for Sunrisers too. Their skipper Shikhar Dhawan just hasn’t looked the part. He has got a couple of 30s, but apart from that hasn’t had anything of note to show. Also, Amit Mishra has had an abysmal time in the last few games. He has been taken apart with ease by opponents, and wouldn’t be high on confidence as Sunrisers take on RCB. Better contribution will also be expected from the lower order, specifically the likes of Darren Sammy and Naman Ojha. With RCB down on confidence, Sunrisers would be keen on keeping them on the mat.
--By A Cricket Analyst